Five Cheap Things to Help Fix Downtown

October 10, 2007 23 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

When city officials get together to talk downtown revitalization, they usually come up with big dollar projects such as convention centers, pocket parks, and shopping malls. The topics de jour for downtown are generally projects that look good at a press conference and give the appearance that real work is being done. Too often we miss the small things, the things that really bring together urban neighborhoods. Today, Metro Jacksonville discusses five inexpensive ways we can improve our downtown.

5. On-Street Parking

Of the five things mentioned here, this is probably the most expensive.  However, it also can pay huge dividends.  A few years ago, we went through a "Widen the sidewalks" phase (the same sidewalks that have been there for 100 years and seemed to work fine during downtown's heyday).  Unfortunately, this came at the expense of on-street parking. 

The people who did this claimed that parking is available in garages. Well, most people don't want to pay a minimum of three dollars just for entering the garage (and much more if thet actually stay for a while).  Plus, people unfamiliar with downtown can be uncomfortable with parking in a structure, particularly if there aren't many people downtown (what if it closes, what if I can't get my car, etc). 

Where it's reasonable, on street parking should be reinstated.  Plus, in those places that have extremely large sidewalks, angled parking should be installed.  Not only is this easier for the southsiders with less parallel parking experience, a block with angled parking will have almost double the number of parking spaces.

It's so nice that we widened the sidewalk down Laura St.  Now these nice, wide sidewalks are empty because of the removal of parallel parking on one side of the street.



Now, are these the top five problems with downtown? Maybe, maybe not.  One can certainly argue that the homeless issue is a major problem downtown.  However, the true solution for this problem is not a cheap fix.  The five things here are all relatively inexpensive, and can make a huge impact downtown.

What else should be on the list?

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